Braun Admits Mistakes; Suspended For Rest of Season | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Numerous reports regarding the Biogenesis scandal have repeatedly hinted suspensions against Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and approximately two dozen other players could be announced in the coming weeks. For many of us, though, the pending suspensions had never felt real. Story fatigue had set in, and any Biogenesis article essentially read: “The suspensions are coming. We swear they’re coming.” But it was always just over the horizon and nobody truly understood what the suspensions would even look like, or even if they would survive any potential appeal.

On Monday afternoon, the Biogenesis story finally came to a head and rocked the baseball landscape when Ryan Braun announced in a statement from Major League Baseball that he had “made some mistakes” in the past. The statement said he would be suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season (65 games) without pay for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Reportedly, after Braun initially met with Major League Baseball on June 29 and witnessed the massive amount of evidence against him, the 29-year-old superstar requested another meeting with MLB officials to negotiate a deal that would prevent his suspension from spilling over into the 2014 season. That meeting presumably led to the statement on Monday.

Working under the assumption Braun would have ultimately been suspended — which seems to be an incredibly safe assumption given the circumstances — this is the best-case scenario for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2013 season has already been lost, so Braun’s suspension will not impact any postseason run. The former MVP has also battled a thumb injury this season. In essence, this suspension allows him to rehab his thumb and return 100-percent healthy next year, of which he will not miss a single game due to the agreed-upon suspension. Finally, the announcement will allow the Brewers to move forward and begin planning for the ’14 season without the cloud of Biogenesis looming over the franchise.

For the larger baseball community, this suspension is more significant than on-the-field ramifications for Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s about perceived justice and protecting the honor of the game. Many baseball fans felt the five-time All Star escaped on a technicality when he won his appeal in 2011. This suspension and admission of guilt (though Braun stopped short of explicitly asserting PED usage) is cathartic for many baseball fans, who can now label Braun a “user” and a “liar.”

And in many ways, they’re correct. Braun may have not explicitly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, but his acceptance of the 65-game suspension effectively validates those claims.

However, the real quandary arises when attempting to ascertain what Braun being a user really means. In baseball terms, he violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and will now serve an agreed-upon suspension. That’s really it. End of story. In 2014, he will once again don a Milwaukee Brewers uniform and likely proceed to terrorize opposing pitchers. Chances are quite good that he’ll replicate past performance and prove his success has not been dependent upon performance-enhancing drugs. Little projects to change on the diamond.

This story is more than that, though. It’s largely focused on morality. Columnists and writers are calling Braun and liar and a cheat. A quick Google search for “Ryan Braun cheater” nets 28,100 results — a number that will assuredly climb in the coming days. For example, Buster Olney of ESPN says Braun is the Lance Armstrong of baseball. Steven Goldman’s title simply reads “Ryan Braun: Liar” and takes him to task for brazenly asserting his innocence over a year ago. Jeff Passan wrote a strongly-worded column a couple weeks ago criticizing him for not coming forth and telling the truth. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says Braun is the league leader in selfishness.

The problem: baseball has little to do with morality. If right and wrong had any place in baseball, Josh Lueke would never have thrown a single pitch in the big leagues. Yovani Gallardo would have been suspended for driving drunk earlier this season. Miguel Cabrera wouldn’t be held up as a god amongst men after multiple incidents involving alcohol. Brett Myers wouldn’t have thrown 21.1 innings for the Cleveland Indians this year. In short, if you’re relying on baseball to be the bastion of morality in our society, you need to get your compass checked.

Of course, the outrage surrounding PED users comes from a place of purity. Many strive for the game we love to be pristine. Perfect. Just like it was when it was considered America’s Game for the better part of the 20th century. But that ideal doesn’t exist. Players have always cheated. They’ve scuffed baseballs, taken amphetamines, corked bats and stolen signs. You name it, there’s a good chance a past player has done it.

Again, there is no golden ideal of baseball where the best team won every game and nobody attempted to skirt the rules or gain a competitive advantage. It doesn’t exist. We simply cannot turn back the clocks and get back to a perfect era of baseball. Not that we shouldn’t strive to achieve a league in which players don’t cheat. That’s an admirable goal. We simply shouldn’t become indignant when a player (or, in this case, multiple players) thought they could gain a step on the field by using performance-enhancing substances. It’s happened countless times. You’d think we would have learned by now.

Ryan Braun broke the rules. The evidence provided by Anthony Bosch and his former employees must have been air-tight to have motivated Braun to accept a suspension and admit guilt, which suggests many other suspensions are on the horizon. Those players will also serve their suspensions. They will then return once their suspensions have been completed. That’s how the program is designed to work, and that’s how it will work. No point in trying to make some larger moral point on the subject. And if we do want to make a moral point, perhaps, more than anything, the Biogenesis case should serve as another reminder of why baseball fans should not idolize players and put them on a pedestal. They’re not gods. They’re human beings.

And human beings make countless wrong choices. Ryan Braun will serve a suspension for the wrong choices he made, and baseball will move on. The finer points of morality do not matter. Baseball is the only thing that matters, and the sooner we all move on to baseball, the better.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Larry Underwood says: July 23, 2013

    Not surprisingly, you miss the point. It’s not that he cheated; it’s that he cheated, got off on a technicality, then held a press conference on national television, indignantly proclaiming his innocence while deliberately maligning the character of an innocent person. What kind of person does something like that? Oh, but don’t worry, Braunie will be back next year with his thumb all healed, and everything will be just great, assuming he still hits his 30+ home runs and drives in over 100. What a disgrace.

    • Ross B says: July 23, 2013

      What kind of person would have acted like Braun in his situation? All of them. All types of people would have acted like that and almost all individuals within those personality types would have done similar things. Saying otherwise is just lying to yourself. Now go take a look at the left field bleachers at Busch Stadium and try not to choke on the irony.

      • Scaray Caray says: July 23, 2013

        Amen, Ross B, Amen.

      • Lanze777 says: July 23, 2013

        To Ross B: I caught your cut on Matt Holliday, And I guarantee you that Matt is all Natural Pure Strength and power! He works out at least 5-6 times a week and he’s a great humanitarian as we’ll, he goes above and beyond in his love for the game and life itself, He’s a natural athlete and always has been! I dare anyone to challenge him to a P.E.D test! He would come back clean everytime!

        • Ross B says: July 23, 2013

          I was talking about the Big Mac Land actually. I could care less whether or not Matt Holliday is clean, except for if he wasn’t it would shut up some Cardinals fans.

      • Larry Underwood says: July 24, 2013

        Sure, lots of guys juiced in the past…Not aware of any that got caught, then got off on a technicality, then held a press conference, not only proclaiming his innocence, but threw the collector under the bus…That’s what makes this case so despicable.

  2. Joel says: July 23, 2013

    My problem is this: He outright lied and threw people under the bus the first time to protect himself and his reputation, when he knew full well what he was doing. That is really, really sad. I had a lot of respect for Braun. I considered him the face of “doing it the right way and being great”. And now, it was all just a farce. That isn’t to say he isn’t or can’t be a great player without PED’s, but I’ve lost a lot of respect for him. He will need to do a LOT to rehabbing his image in my eyes (and a lot of others people’s as well). The worst part is his torpedoing of the collector off a technicality. I wonder if this guy can sue for defamation of character? I know I would. Perhaps the time away from the game will allow Ryan to reflect on his very gifted life, and he will realize that is is a privilege to play a game for a living.

  3. billy hoyle says: July 23, 2013

    In all these articles I read about Braun they all miss a HUGE point. Yeah he more than likely cheated, took PEDs whatever. What about the scandal MLB has created by PAYING off Tony Bosch? They essentially paid for evidence against these players. From the time Bosch wouldn’t talk to MLB them suing him, then deciding they wouldn’t include him all this ‘evidence’ shows up? I know I could create a lot of documents in that time period to get myself out of hot water or jail. Bosch is was and always will be scum, who is the real cheater here. With no factual data regarding the details of the evidence, suspension one is bound to be suspicious. Did MLB pay off Bosch, pay off Braun to take the heat and show the whole world that MLB and Selig are ‘tough’ on users? We may never know all the facts and the ‘truth’ to this scandal.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: July 23, 2013

      Yes! And, nevermind that this whole scandal stems from a disgruntled employee who had a personal dispute with Bosch (and is now allegedly in on the MLB indemnification train, too!)

      Even worse than paying these guys off, the use of indemnification by the MLB in their lawsuit against Biogenesis is disgusting. Real abuse of the legal process.

  4. Matt T says: July 23, 2013

    I’m not dfending what Braun’s actions lead to as far as the career of the collector is concerned; but as someone who traffics in chains-of-custody, and evidence collection, the collector was still wrong in the eyes of the arditraitor. He may have simply been acting inside the determined space of aceptability as far as MLB was concerned, but what he did was still wrong. MLB didn’t have to fire him; they could have admitted he was doing their bidding and simply have said “he’ll do it differently next time.”

    Bottom line: Braun didn’t fire that guy, MLB did.

  5. Paul S says: July 23, 2013

    Anyone else think that his “bereavement leave” before the All-Star break was really related to negotiating this settlement? I thought it was fishy at the time, but now it seems to make perfect sense.

  6. mattchoo says: July 23, 2013

    this whole thing stinks……. my guess is braun “accepted this” to give his thumb time to heal fully and get back to normal. This is what most people call coercion , not an admittance of guilt. MLB first did it to Bosch, now to the players…… all because they were embarrassed by their own faulty drug policy.

    BTW ….. NONE of this gets to the point of the real reason for all of this, the press loves scandals! Yeah, I said it! Braun’s suspension should immediately be appealed in a just world. His name should not have even come up about suspensions, test failures, crappy handling by test takers, paid off/coerced informants until yesterday when an actual suspension was handed down. Don’t Blame Braun for “lieing” last year when NONE of the public knows the truth.

    THIS WHOLE THING STINKS WORSE THAN A SKUNK ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!

  7. David says: July 23, 2013

    Reports now coming out that his use of PED’s was long-term and pervasive. Anyone else concerned that we’re going to hear that this has been going on since Braun’s days at the U? What if all of his numbers to date are PED-enhanced?

    • Nicholas Zettel says: July 23, 2013

      What would non-PED-enhanced numbers look like?

    • Kris says: July 23, 2013

      The problem is we don’t know who does PED’s and for the most part you’re comparing him to a league that has a huge PED problem despite all the new testing procedures. Point being that he’s better than the vast majority of the league and who knows what percent of them use PEDs.

      Not to mention who even knows what the PED’s actually did as far as his performance. They might have just kept him off the DL for all we know and had no more impact than that. It’s not like the guy became cartoon character sized like Barry Bonds. But even if they did enhance his ability to his a baseball, to what extent did it improve his numbers? There’s no way to empirically know.

  8. The Logical Man says: July 23, 2013

    Where are people like this Henry character now- Smart comments about how Braun was innocent and how it was a joke that people thought he was guilty- Very Sad!!!

  9. Dan says: July 23, 2013

    Are you talking about the famous pirate Henry- He probably is laying in the sauna with his buddy Chris- Absolute Homer that can not believe reality

  10. BrewersWorldSeries says: July 23, 2013

    “the Biogenesis case should serve as another reminder of why baseball fans should not idolize players and put them on a pedestal. They’re not gods. They’re human beings.”

    THANK YOU! People need to stop pretending athletes are supposed to be the embodiment of perfect morality just because they are physically gifted, worked incredibly hard, and make a lot of money. How many baseball players never attended college? How many came from dirt poor neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic or Cuba? For the love of god, give it a rest. Athletes don’t owe us ANYTHING. If you don’t like them, turn the TV off, don’t go to games, boo them when they come up to bat, but don’t for one second act like they owe you or your children a personal apology for lying or using a substance you consider “unfair”. People can be so self righteous sometimes. Be mad all you want, but put yourself in the shoes of a late 20′s superstar athlete with the weight of the world suddenly thrust upon your shoulders. It’s hard for me to believe I wouldn’t have acted in the same way. Anyone remember a little guy named Bill Clinton? The man was the President of the most powerful country in the world and was being fellated by a 20 year old intern in the frickin Oval Office of the White House when he was supposed to be making critical decisions for the well being of our country. And he was married! And he got on national television and told all of America a bold faced lie about the entire situation. A bizarre comparison, I know, but I’m just trying to show that if you have morals or ideals that you hold dear, let your own life be the standard by which you measure such things. In short, grow up. Still a baseball/Brewers/Braun fan for life. Peace.

    • Philboyd says: July 23, 2013

      Update, July 23, 11:20 a.m.: If you had any doubts about Ryan Braun’s character, or whether he really meant to malign sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr., Jeff Passan’s column should erase them. The Yahoo baseball writer explains that a member of Braun’s entourage—writing under a pseudonym—sent a note to him and other reporters just prior to his smear-tastic February 2012 press conference. That email noted that Laurenzi Jr. worked at a hospital, which means he “would have unfettered access to lab equipment and, if he was so inclined, would provide him the necessary resources and opportunity to tamper with the test.” That note tells you everything you need to know about Braun: He’s shameless, he’s opportunistic, and he’ll do whatever it takes to save his own skin.

  11. The Logical Man says: July 23, 2013

    In all seriousness what is the future for Braun- At least he has admitted his mistakes. Milwaukee will have to take a hard look at their future and what it brings

  12. Philboyd says: July 23, 2013

    Please. His statement was a PR disaster. I can’t believe he pays good money for stuff like that.

    • Ross B says: July 23, 2013

      And was probably jointly written between his lawyers and those representing MLB as part of the deal to not try an appeal.

  13. Gorman's Stache says: July 23, 2013

    I just want to know what he actually did—how upset should we Brewers fans be? Right now it’s like finding out your girlfriend lied about cheating on you, but you’re not allowed to know if she just made out with some guy at a bar or if she slept with your whole softball team. Ugh.

    My initial reaction is that we should just trade him for some starting pitchers.

  14. mpg says: July 23, 2013

    Great post for 2011/12 the FIRST time Braun was busted. The problem is not so much that others cheat, the purity of the game or even that he DID cheat.

    The problem is that the scumbag repeatedly lied to everyone — fans, the Brewers, his teammates and mlb. He lied, deceived all of us and worse encouraged all of us to defend him. Right now, he falls somewhere between Lance Armstrong and Brett Favre going to the Vikings in terms of shitheadedness. It’s tough to overstate the magnitude of his actions. And you so quickly forgiving, going for the thumb argument and talking about next season already is shameful.

    The guy convinced a lot of us — brewers fans, Attanasio, and the organization — of his innocence because we trusted him and wanted it to be so. So much so that many of us stuck up for him, even Aaron Rodgers who normally is PC about these things. I mean Rodgers was more passionate in public about defending Braun than after the Fail Mary in Seattle. And now we all have egg on our faces and feel used. Worse, we’re a small market baseball team with limited resources, and committed to this schmuck thru 2020 and were building the franchise around him. We bet on him and let prince go.

    So what do we do now? It’ll be pretty tough for anyone to trust and forgive the guy, especially since he’s not out there apologizing all over the place. And it will be bad, just like when Favre left. There will be those who stick by Braun and those who he’ll be dead to.

    For me, Favre’s jersey will finally have some company in the back of my closet in the never to be worn again pile.

    What a shame.

  15. jaybird says: July 23, 2013

    I wonder how many retired HOF players were patients at Biogenesis.
    When Reggie made his comments about A-Rod last year, he was speaking
    with certitude, and that’s why the organization went ballistic.

  16. Mike says: July 24, 2013

    I feel like watching Braun play 07-11 was like watching Roy Hobbs play in the movie The Natural, while this has been like reading the book The Natural. (for anyone who hasn’t read the book, everything goes very badly for Roy in the end, and it’s all his fault)

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